A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.” And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times.
Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful. Here is the promised times tables movement/lesson/drawing for yesterday’s fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper. Please see the illustration above and read the instructions below.
The 3’s and 7’s are the only tables whose patterns touch all the numbers from 0-9. This is illustrated by the “jumps” the Grasshopper makes, hopping back and forth until he covers all 10 numbers. The tie-in with the story is that the Grasshopper’s playfulness and long legs enable him to make all of the intricate back and forth jumps, while the plodding Ant can only watch in amazement. This is a bit of a twist on the moral and intent of the story, perhaps bringing in the value and joy of playfulness alongside the virtues of thrift and hard work. The story, picture, and physical imprint are all invaluable learning aids!
Use a crayon to write the numbers 0-9, large, one each on ten large, unlined index cards. Place them 6-8 inches apart, lined up, on the floor. Using the movement shown, have the child(ren) jump the numbers (the cards represent the second digit for 2-digit numbers). They can physically jump as the Grasshopper, or toss a beanbag to each number. Start both the 3’s and 7’s at the 0. For the 3’s, it’s short jumps forward and long jumps back. The 7’s are long jumps forward and short jumps back, and both begin and end at the 0. Relay the Grasshopper’s agility consistently, throughout. Choose different colors for the sets of long and short jumps, as in the drawing up top. Use one color for the numbers, spaced evenly.
Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for more Common Core, and its ambient, Waldorf/Math By Hand counterpart.